Ben Simmons goes up against LeBron James.
Ben Simmons goes up against LeBron James.

76ers preparing for all-out LeBron attack

AS LeBron James was being humbled in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Philadelphia 76ers began laying the groundwork on a new process.

After losing Game 1 at the hands of the Boston Celtics 108-83, a game where James tied his worst ever plus-minus (-32) in a playoff game, the rumours of James' departure popped up again.

While "The King" wasn't anywhere near his destructive best, the team's reliance on him doing all of the heavy lifting could be the ultimate undoing.

James has a player-option on his contract at the end of this season, meaning if he chooses to he can leave his hometown of Cleveland.

With the lavish surrounds of Los Angeles and the concrete jungle of New York calling out for him, the lure of Philadelphia could prove greater than them all.

Led by All-Star big man Joel Embiid and Aussie Ben Simmons, the heir apparent to his throne, the game's greatest player would be handed a shot at continuing his reign atop the NBA kingdom.

Despite his hefty price tag, no team is going to pass up the chance at signing James and the Sixers are preparing to open the cheque book.

"People have asked me about the luxury tax. I don't have any problem spending for good players," Sixers co-managing partner Josh Harris said to

After falling short against the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs, the Sixers will regroup with their young core while looking to bolster their stocks with lucrative free-agents.

"I think another high-level free agent is required. I feel like we have the ability to attract one," Sixers coach Brett Brown said.

Simmons' remarkable emergence in his rookie campaign along with the monumental growth of Embiid should leave key players on the market salivating.

With Kawhi Leonard reportedly unhappy in San Antonio and Paul George effectively halfway out the door in Oklahoma City, the Sixers have plenty of options.

But none loom larger than the prospect of signing James, who would take the Sixers from challengers to championship favourites.


"I think the bar is very high for us in terms of who we are going to put on this team," Harris said. "But on the other hand, for a certain small number of players, like we are going to go after them hard."

James is expected to make around $46 million (AUD) next season and that staggering figure would require plenty of juggling on the Sixers' books.

With their young core of Simmons, Embiid, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz all locked in, the team would need to clean house to bring him in.

Many will argue the addition of George or Leonard would be the better fit for the Sixers, but James has continued to show throughout his career an ability to adapt his game to any scenario.

During a game he can change from being the dominant scorer to a distributor when his team needs it most.

So despite his style being incredibly well reflected by Simmons, the duo could create an unstoppable force on both ends of the floor.

The Sixers added former Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J Redick for the 2017/18 season to help the growth of the team, but no player in the game brings a better understanding of what it takes to win than James.

"I think if we get LeBron, we'll turn into a superteam and dominate the NBA," rapper and Philly native Meek Mill said.

"We already have a great team. Just having somebody with leadership that's experienced in these types of situations will only make things 10 times better."


James is currently aiming for his eighth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, and fourth straight with the Cavaliers, but the prospect of a brand new challenge and joining forces with young superstars could prove too strong.

The Sixers know that while their current group of players is remarkable, it's missing one more piece that will elevate them to the next level.

"We have a core that's going to grow, but if the right person comes, you have to be very opportunistic," Josh Harris said.

"Because there's not that many people (who are franchise changers). There really isn't."

Councillors 'finally' unite to address $6m budget disaster

premium_icon Councillors 'finally' unite to address $6m budget disaster

Mayor said the council has six weeks to prepare its budget

Defects found after $14 million pool upgrades

premium_icon Defects found after $14 million pool upgrades

But the council says ratepayers won't foot the bill for repairs

BEACH RESCUES: The North Coast's dramatic statistics

premium_icon BEACH RESCUES: The North Coast's dramatic statistics

Water rescues this summer saw lifeguards run off their feet